This year was the first year Pittsburgh had a SQL Saturday. Luckily, I was able to find out about it a couple months beforehand and was able to get involved. I didn’t help out that much but I was still was able to lend a hand. It was the first time I was able to be part of this kind of event. In the past I have always been the one who went to the sessions but this time I got to see behind the scenes.
It started when I signed up (one of the first days!) and checked the “would you like to volunteer” checkbox during the registration process (which was very easy, btw). I then received a series of emails for in person meetings or phone conference meetings. I was able to attend a couple of the phone calls but didn’t really have much input to offer. The only in person meeting I was able to attend was a meeting after our local user group meeting. It was a great one to go to because it was the one where we picked out all the sessions. It was a long process but I think we all were satisfied with the outcome. We had a solid slammed packed day planned.
After that, I helped out a bit by contacting the former Chicago SQL user group president, Bill Lescher and asking for some words of wisdom. He had some good advice about getting sponsors. I also contacted Pluralsight.com about sponsoring the event (which they did!!!)
So then some more emails and then finally the day came. Volunteers had to be there at 6am so that meant I had to wake up at 5am to get ready and drive up to the north side of Pittsburgh. Of course I had to stop on the way and pick up some caffeine in Monster form.
My duties for the day were to be room proctor. I was in charge of getting the speakers what they needed, handing out and collecting evaluations, and making sure we stayed within the time limits. It was an easy job because I got to attend sessions at the same time.
So how were the sessions? GREAT! It was nice to spend a whole day listening to and learning about a technology that you find interesting.
I started off my day to a nice intro to Service Broker by Adam Belebczuk. Service broker can get a bit complicated if you have never used it before. I thought Adam did a great job cramming a ton of info into 1 hour. Great presentation skills as well (ZOOM IT!).
Next up was Dean Richards talking about VMware. It was another good introduction to VMWare. If you never used VMWare before then this was your course. It was a nice recap for me.
The final morning session was Mike Hiilwig‘s session of 7 SQL Agent jobs that I should be running. It was a very entertaining session that show some great methods for DB maintenance. Personally, I like to use powershell for monitoring errors over multiple servers but Mike’s ideas were also very good. I hope to see more sessions by him in the future.
LUNCH BREAK – The only take away I got from lunch was that college students don’t get dressed on weekends. The event was held at La Roche college. We didn’t eat until around 12:30. While I waited in line to get food with my other SQL Sat-ers, I noticed that every single college student I saw was still in their PJ’s or sweat pants. It was fall break though. ii-na.
After lunch I went to Justin Dearing‘s session on MongoDB. It was very cool to be exposed to noSQL. I’ve read about it before but have never seen it up close. It’s something I doubt I will ever use but now I feel I have a better understanding of it.
The next session was Michael John’s Top Development and Design Mistakes. It was a packed room for some antodotes of Michael’s experience in the field.
My final session of the day might have been my favorite. It was Sam Nasr’s 14 new SQl functions in 2012. It was exactly what the title says it was. We went over them 1 by 1. It was a great session that was more like a class. The whole group was engaged in the session. We actually had some time left over and explored these functions a bit more in depth.
After the sessions finished everybody filed back into the main hall for the giving out of the prizes and the final closing remarks.
After the day was over, some people headed to the bar for a couple SQL drinks. It was a nice way to finish off a great day. Overall, I enjoyed helping out (the little bit I did) and thought it was a great thing for the city of Pittsburgh. I hope we have more of these and the community is continues to support community training.
Thank you to everybody involved!!